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Cavan Reilly of the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens is introduced as we look at the news around the expansion of sports betting in the Delaware market.
Cavan Reilly of the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens is introduced before the second round of the CAA Mens Basketball Tournament on March 9, 2024. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images via AFP.

Delaware appears poised to expand its legal sports betting platform past having just one exclusive online operator. Last year, BetRivers became the lone vendor in the state's online gaming business, taking over from 888, a company that is in the process of exiting the American market. Despite that BetRivers is one of our best sports betting sites, things have not gone excellently in Delaware.

Retail sports betting has existed in the Delaware sports betting scene since 2018, when it was one of the first states to take advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of its blanket ban on sports betting.

House Bill 365 was filed last week and aims to give the state’s three casinos a chance at two mobile sports betting licenses each. It would dramatically expand the Delaware mobile sports betting market from one provider to six and possibly expand the way for real money online casinos.

It advanced out of the House Administration Committee last week and now advances to the House Appropriation Committee.

Democratic Rep. Franklin Cooke, the chief sponsor of H.B. 365, said during the Wednesday committee meeting, "There is substantial consumer demand for multiple operators. Delaware residents are still driving across the border into Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to access their favorite mobile apps.”

More on H.B. 365

H.B. 365 was first proposed in April and aims to amend Delaware's active gaming laws, which currently allow for just one provider in the state.

As mentioned, each of the state's three casinos would get a crack at two sports betting licenses each. They include:

  • Bally’s Dover Casino Resort
  • Casino at Delaware Park
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino

Each operator would pay a $500,000 fee for a five-year wagering license in the state. Renewal fees will be $250,000 for another five-year term. Licensing fees are earmarked for the state’s General Fund.

Under the bill, legal sports betting would be taxed at 18% on operators' adjusted gross revenue. The revenue would go to needy programs in Delaware.

Operators will also be responsible for 1.5% of their monthly adjusted gross receipts going toward horse racing purses in the state.

H.B. 365 is being backed by the Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group in the state, a strong bipartisan coalition working towards answers in the Delaware market. In December, the group issued a report that said Delaware “needs to have an online sport lottery” and that it “needs to have multiple online sports lottery operators,” among other recommendations.

BetRivers not cutting it

Since Dec. 27th, BetRivers has been the only online sports betting operator in Delaware but has not exactly caught fire. It turns out that BetRivers costs the government money, as advertising, geolocation services, and computer server hosting fall on the state. 

Since BetRivers became the only vendor in the state in January, those costs are said to have reached $2.2 million. The platform's revenues are not much higher than that. Residents interested in checking out the sole vendor can use our BetRivers bonus code.

Some Delaware lawmakers don’t seem sold on Betrivers’ monopoly on the Delaware scene.

“Delaware has had mobile sports betting through the BetRivers platform for more than four months. Despite what you’ve been told, it is not producing significant revenue for the state,” said Franklin Cooke last Wednesday. “The state of Delaware earned $8.5 million in the fiscal year of 2023 without mobile sports betting.”

The current legislative session ends at the end of June. So, this isn’t the first or last we will hear of legislative efforts to bring more operators to Delaware residents. It will be a hot-button topic until the current Delaware legislative session ends in just over a month’s time.